Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law that will protect postal workers and letter carriers by allowing judges to consider harsher penalties for violent crimes against employees of the United States Postal Service. The Governor signed the law at Illinois State Association of Letter Carriers' annual convention in Rockford.
"The hard-working men and women of the United States Postal Service deserve our gratitude," Governor Quinn said. "This law will help make sure that they are able to continue doing their jobs safely."
Senate Bill 3665, sponsored by Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) and Rep. Jerry Costello III (D-Sparta), allows judges to consider a victim's employment in the United States Postal Service (USPS) as an aggravating factor in violent crimes like assault, battery and robbery. Upon conviction, a judge could impose more severe sentences on the offender.
This law is an initiative of the National Association of Letter Carriers, which is working with the USPS to inform postal workers in Illinois about the appropriate steps to take in the event of a crime being committed against them or in their vicinity.
As U.S. government employees, USPS workers are already protected by federal law; however, in the event federal prosecutors don't pursue cases involving crimes against postal workers, this law will allow state courts to consider USPS employment in their proceedings.
The new law goes into effect January 1, 2013.